The U.S. added 850,000 jobs in June, exceeding expectations as rising demand for a wide range of services disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic fueled the labor market, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.
The unemployment rate ticked slightly higher to 5.9 percent, according to the report, but the monthly haul far exceeded the projections of economists, who expected the U.S. to gain roughly 700,000 jobs last month.
The labor force participation rate stayed roughly even at 61.6 percent, a sign that many Americans are still unable to return to the workforce. There were also 6.4 million Americans who did not seek a job in June — and therefore not counted as unemployed — but want to work, up from 5 million before the pandemic.
Even so, strong job gains in sectors hit hard by the pandemic and a sharp drop in the number of Americans working part-time when they'd prefer to work full-time pointed toward an accelerating rebound from COVID-19.
The leisure and hospitality industry led the June jobs haul with a gain of 343,000, a promising sign for a sector devastated by the pandemic. Restaurants and bars added 194,000 of those jobs, followed by hotels with 75,000 and arts, entertainment and recreation with 70,000 new jobs.
Local government education added 155,000 jobs, but the Labor Department said those figures could be distorted by season adjustments and the impact of the pandemic on public school hiring.